Mount Prospect plans to turn the site of a downtown auto repair shop into a green space that will act as a gateway into the village.

Trustees voted Tuesday to spend $800,000 from the Prospect and Main Tax Increment Financing District to buy the property at 310 W. Northwest Highway. The parcel, at the corner of Northwest Highway and Central Road, is the longtime home of Formula Auto Repair.

Shop owner Joe Pentz said he plans to retire in November. Until then, the business will continue to operate.

“I’m 68 years old and I have been doing this for a long time. I’ve been here for over 30 years,” Pentz said.

Village Manager Michael Cassady said the purchase, expected to close in June, creates “a beautification opportunity in downtown Mount Prospect.”

“I think this is an exciting gateway opportunity for the village,” Trustee Colleen Saccotelli added. “I think it’s going to be a really nice showcase for not only our residents, but people passing through.”

Of the $800,000 purchase price, $100,000 will be held in escrow until the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency issues a No Further Remediation Letter regarding environmental concerns related to the repair shop and the removal of a storage tank from a gas station that closed there in 2014.

“The people I bought this from had some waste oil contamination underneath the building,” Pentz said. “They drained the oil into the ground is what they did.”

 
Mount Prospect is spending $800,000 to acquire this property at Central Road and Northwest Highway. The village plans to convert it into a green gateway into town.
Steve Zalusky/[email protected]

Naperville-based True North Consultants Inc. conducted environmental studies of the property on behalf of the village. Brian Mihelich, the company’s executive vice president, said the village will be able to demonstrate the site will protect human health and the environment.

 
Joe Pentz, owner of Formula Auto Repair at 310 W. Northwest Highway in Mount Prospect, is selling his property to the village, which plans to create a green space that will serve as a gateway into town.
Steve Zalusky/[email protected]

“The activities that are necessary to get the (remediation letter) are fairly nominal,” Cassady said. “It’s not a huge hurdle.”

The only village board member voting against the purchase was Trustee Augie Filippone.

“My feeling is it might not be exactly right at this moment for a deal just yet,” he said, noting the environmental questions.

Filippone’s vote led to a harsh exchange between he and Mayor Paul Hoefert, who accused him of having an “agitator style.”

“You’re not the smartest guy in the room,” Hoefert said.

“Mayor, if I’m the smartest guy in the room, I need to be in a different room,” Filippone replied.

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